We are officially 77 days away from seeing the LA Chargers back in action.
Counting today, there are now 77 days until the LA Chargers kickoff their 2020 season against first overall pick Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals.
To count down the 2020 season, we have been naming the best player in Chargers’ history to wear every number that coincides with the number of days remaining. Thus far, not a single current Charger has taken home the honor of being the best to wear their number.
That will continue with the number 77. Undrafted free agent TJ Smith is listed as the current number 77 on the LA Chargers roster and has not even officially made the team yet. Forrest Lamp has apparently changed his number from 77 to 76.
The greatest number 77 in team history is not someone who has played recently, he is someone who played with the team during its earliest years.
The best number 77 in LA Chargers’ history: Ernie Ladd
Ernie Ladd was selected in the seventh round of the 1961 AFL Draft and became one of the best players in the AFL as soon as he joined the league. Ladd is one of the rare examples of a player choosing the AFL over the NFL, as he was also drafted by the Chicago Bears in the fourth round of the 1961 NFL Draft.
Ladd spent five seasons with the Chargers from 1961 to 1965 and was one of the most menacing defensive tackles in the league. While we do not have sack or tackle numbers to put into perspective how good he was, we can look at his four Pro Bowls and three All-Pro seasons as the reasoning behind this selection.
He also has the most career Approximate Value with the Chargers of any player to wear number 77 in team history.
Ladd is one of the biggest players in league history as well. He absolutely towered over his opposition, standing in at six-foot-nine and 290 pounds. He was a man amongst boys.
So much so that he enjoyed a really polarizing post-football career as well. Ladd became a professional wrestler and even spent time in the World Wide Wrestling Federation, which became the WWF and is now the WWE.
Ladd is a member of the WCW Hall of Fame and the WWE Hall of Fame and was the first person to ever be inducted into both promotion’s Hall of Fame (WCW no longer exists). He is also a member of the Chargers Hall of Fame, making him a three-time Hall of Famer.
The greatest number 77 was not just a fantastic player, he is one of the most interesting players to ever suit up in the powder blue.